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Houston City Council Delays Vote On Police Union Contract

It was delayed by one council member – drawing his colleagues’ ire.

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Council member Oliver Pennington delayed a vote on a new police contract, saying he first wants reassurance that the city has enough money for it.

 

The new labor contract would give across-the-board pay raises for Houston’s police officers.

Many council members voiced some concern about the city budget but expressed support for the contract.

But then Council member Oliver Pennington tagged the item, which means a vote on it is delayed until next week.

“What I’m seeking is financial responsibility,” he said. “That’s the reason why I delayed it in order that we can either get or not get the controller’s certification.”

The city is facing a $63 million budget deficit for the next fiscal year. Pennington said he wants the controller, who is the city’s chief financial officer, to certify that the necessary funds are available before he casts a vote.

Many of his colleagues, like Council member Dwight Boykins, didn’t like it.

“Let’s deal with the core reasons of why we’re here: to take care of the citizens of the city of Houston and not play politics with public safety,” he said.

Boykins said the current police contract is not competitive with other Texas cities. And Houston Police Officers Union President Ray Hunt said the delay could cause cadets to look for jobs elsewhere.

Pennington said he’s aware he didn’t make any friends with the delay, but that he’s just trying to do the right thing.

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